April 2nd – 26th, 2014
Opening Reception: April 3rd, 6PM-9PM
“A miraculous compound, it is the primary source and vivifying factor of all sustenance and, by extension, all life as we know it…Water has the power to purify: to restore and replenish life to our essential, spiritual selves.” (Rivkah Slonim)
For centuries, water has been used as an integral part of religious rituals for different faiths throughout the world. These rituals are often performed in the public eye so that many can witness them. However, in the Jewish faith, there is one private ritual for a woman that involves immersion in a special pool of water, called a mikvah.
This exhibit sheds light on both the traditional and modern beauty of the mikvah ritual. The photographic series addresses three integral components of the tradition of purity: religiously observant women, the accessories needed to prepare for the ritual immersion, and the mikvah spaces themselves. The portraits are taken with unique vantage points that cleverly protect the identity of the women, while the accessories are presented in a way that elevates seemingly utilitarian objects to specialized utensils that serve a higher purpose. The mikvah images go beyond architectural interiors; they subtly reveal the detailed process involved in the ritual.
The mikvah ritual has many layers of significance, connecting generations of Jewish women. The subject matter is a delicate one; yet, Slovin’s bold photographs are also imbued with a deep sensitivity and intimacy. The photographs in this exhibit respectfully offer insight into this timeless, private tradition of purity.
Margalit Slovin is a Canadian/American photographer who recently graduated from the BFA photography program at Ryerson University. Since then, she has moved to Israel to work at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. Margalit’s compelling photographic art works highlight specifics within culture, religion, and identity, often through a combination of portraits and landscapes.